Today on the blog I speak with an artist who I've actually had the pleasure of meeting. It's not often people are so open and honest about what they have been through, if anything it's normal to not feel easy to talk about your past sufferings but with Amja, her calm serene presence makes her at ease to tell her truth and her story.
The presence of Amja is divine, she exudes a cool, calm and collective but really a free spirit that pulls you in to realise how powerful strength and growth is as she tells you more about the meanings behind each painting. All this expressed through her art makes you feel centred and connected to her soul and somehow closer to your own. Exactly what I think makes for a great artist.
I introduce to you, Amja
Hi Amja so we have met before but for anyone that doesn't know you or your work could you explain a bit about yourself and how you became an artist?
I'm Amja, Mother, Motivational Speaker and anything my creative soul decides to be in the moment. After being stalked then attacked metres from my former place of employment whilst simultaneously transitioning out of a domestically abusive relationship I lost my identity in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder better known as PSTD.
While attending a domestic abuse charity I was asked if I would like to take part in an art project. I agreed, was given an untreated piece of canvas and was told by the International Visual and Performance: Artist Rachel Gadsden to go and paint. What materialised was my art piece 'Perception'. Perception was how I was able to tell my story on canvas when my words were misconstrued in the abyss of semantics and gaslighting. Art gave me a place to share my story, my truth unabashedly.
What is your process to get into creative mode?
I am very much a go with the flow type of person and laugh a lot. When meditating I have my journal beside me and if I have an idea I write it down and/ or sketch and then take it from there or other times I follow the feeling in the moment and take it from there. However, I usually listen to music and dance before I start to create as a way of connecting with the Divine Feminine to activate my sacral power centre which is responsible for creativity, sexuality and spirituality and the heart power centre for activating love and compassion for self and others.
Who do you want to see your art, is there a specific audience or you want it to be everywhere for all different people to connect with in their own way?
Although I have been told that my art is very much for the feminine, my hope is that my art is experienced by everyone it speaks to and that they find a message of hope, healing, love and empowerment.
What is your favourite part about being an artist?
The freedom. As I have mentioned before I'm a go with the flow type of person. I wasn't always like this before. When in a domestically abusive relationship the basis of perpetration is to control. While sitting in a therapy session I made an agreement with myself that I would live more freely with intention and not wait for another's permission to live how I want to.
So often I think it takes a lot of courage to follow a creative path, is that something you feel?
Definitely. I have come from a very structured work experience. I managed teams of varying sizes, and supported directors as executive and personal assistant while raising four children which all require a very organised way of being, so being an artist is a very different way of being. Firstly, because I hadn't intentionally done visual art before, or only as a make-up artist which still is someone else's personal brief to follow, most of the time and secondly because my former employment had a guaranteed income. For me, being an artist means you have to trust the process and accept that what is for you will n to pass you by even when your bank account is in overdraft overdrive lol.
When did you realise you want to be an artist?
When my art piece 'Perception' was in the gallery I saw a woman staring at it for a long time, when she turned around she was crying and had her hands on her heart, on the same day Rachel Gadsden held my hand and told me that so many people had been staring at my piece and that I am a really good artist. Later she asked if an opportunity came up would I consider working on an art project where women who had been impacted by domestic abuse could explore their creativity in a supportive, trauma informed way. For many years prior I had often been told that I have a very inspiring and humorous way of speaking, so I thought I could use a combination of my skills to help others and I went from there to Amja Unabashedly; Where Art, Inspiration and Humour empower people of domestic abuse.
What are your current projects/ things you are working on?
I have partnered with the Woman's trust, which is a specialist mental health charity, providing free counselling and therapy for women who have experienced domestic abuse. 10% of all my ' A heart to hold' prints sales will be donated to the charity. The idea for A Heart to Hold was because while attending therapy the counsellor would always say self-love and self-compassion is so important. Initially, I used to be irritated by the saying but now I truly believe in it and try to live by it without an apology.
Also I had planned to do a solo exhibition this summer but due to the current world situation I had to postpone, so I have been working on a very personal piece which I can't share at the moment but will do when the time is right.
To view more of Amja's work Amja Unabashedly